Apple announced a new service at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) called “iCloud+” which has several new features focused on protecting user privacy.
One of those new features is like a “Private Relay” feature, so that when a user browses the internet using Apple’s Safari browser their data is sent through two separate servers. This masks the user’s identity and what sites they are browsing. Consequently, this means that not even Apple or the user’s ISP will not be able to see the user’s data.
It works exactly as a (VPN) Virtual Private Network, which is where users can route their information through another server. This conceals their identity and browsing activity from prying eyes.
China which is famous for collecting data and spying on its citizens has what is called the “Great Firewall” which allows authorities to block websites outside of China from being accessed within China. Many Chinese people use a VPN to bypass these restrictions. Although, the government mandates or approves certain VPNs for use in China and using an unauthorized VPN is illegal so there is some question to how well state “approved” ones in China actually protect people in China.
While the “Private Relay” feature is not a VPN it functions very similar to a VPN. An Apple spokesperson told CNBC that “Private Relay will not be available in China” and the protection it affords to its users will not be available in some other countries as well. These countries Saudi Arabia, Balarus, Egypt, and Uganda along with China are governments that monitor their people’s internet behavior, site visits, posts etc.
This is a dangerous trend Apple has been following in removing the protections of some of its international customers. In 2017, Apple removed a number of VPN services from its China App store to comply with communist China’s regulations.
Apple has made it clear they do not want to lose such a profitable market even if it means sacrificing their customers privacy.
Chris Russell is Editor and Chief of “The Daily Brief” you can follow him on Facebook at:
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